Glossary Terms:

Staying Afloat Financially in the 21st Century

Glossary terms from:


Beliefs or statements presupposed to be true.

Balanced Budget

A financial plan in which income is equal to expenses.


To receive and use something belonging to somebody else, with the intention of returning or repaying it--often with interest in the case of borrowed money.


A spending-and-savings plan, based on estimated income and expenses for an individual or an organization, covering a specific time period.


A written order to a financial institution directing the financial institution to pay a stated amount of money, as instructed, from the customer's account.


An amount that must be paid or spent to buy or obtain something. The effort, loss or sacrifice necessary to achieve or obtain something.


Money owed to someone else. Also the state or condition of owing money. Can be individual, corporate or government debt.


A conclusion reached after considering alternatives and their results.


Trading a good or service for another good or service, or for money.


Payments for goods and services.


Payments earned by households for selling or renting their productive resources. May include salaries, wages, interest and dividends.


A practice or arrangement whereby a company provides a guarantee of compensation for specified forms of loss, damage, injury or death. People obtain such guarantees by buying insurance policies, for which they pay premiums. The process allows for the spreading out of risk over a pool of insurance policyholders, with the expectation that only a few policholders will actually experience losses for which claims must be made. Types of insurance include automobile, health, renter's, homeowner's, disability and life.


A piece of work usually done on order at an agreed-upon rate. Also a paid position of regular employment.

Long Run

A period of time long enough for firms to change the quantities of all the resources they use; the exact amount of time varies depending on the industry.


Anything that is generally accepted as final payment for goods and services; serves as a medium of exchange, a store of value and a standard of value. Characteristics of money are portability, stability in value, uniformity, durability and acceptance.

Opportunity Cost

The second-best alternative (or the value of that alternative) that must be given up when scarce resources are used for one purpose instead of another.


The basic kinds of resources used to produce goods and services: land or natural resources, human resources (including labor and entrepreneurship), and capital.


A regular payment, often at monthly or biweekly intervals, made by an employer to an employee, especially in the case of professional or white-collar employees. Salaries are paid for services rendered and are not based on hours worked.


To keep money for future use; to divert money from current spending to a savings account or another form of investment.


Disposable income (income after taxes) minus consumption spending.


Money set aside for a future use that is held in easily-accessed accounts, such as savings accounts and certificates of deposit (CDs).

Savings Account

An interest-bearing account (passbook or statement) at a financial institution.


The situation that results when the quantity demanded for a product exceeds the quantity supplied. Generally happens because the price of the product is below the market equilibrium price.


The amount of a good or service that producers are willing and able to offer for sale at each possible price during a given period of time. Normally, as the price of a good or service rises (or falls), the quantity supplied of the good or service rises (or falls).


Desires that can be satisfied by consuming or using a good or service. Economists do not differentiate between wants and needs.


Effort applied to achieve a purpose or result, often for pay; skills and knowledge put to use to get something done; employment at a job or in a position; occupation, profession, business, trade, craft, etc.